Re: [antitrust-policy] Should the IETF allow discussion of licensing costs

Russ Housley <housley@vigilsec.com> Fri, 20 January 2012 21:14 UTC

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From: Russ Housley <housley@vigilsec.com>
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Date: Fri, 20 Jan 2012 16:14:02 -0500
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To: Jorge Contreras <cntreras@gmail.com>
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Subject: Re: [antitrust-policy] Should the IETF allow discussion of licensing costs
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> 
> >>  - discuss licensing costs of essential patent claims associated with
> >>    different technical approaches;
> 
> This point in the strawman has lead to a disagreement.  Some say that this should not be allowed, and they point to the policies of other SDOs that prohibit it.  On the other side of this issue, Jorge points out that these SDOs are being very conservative, and he says that it is not prohibited by current antitrust and competitive laws.
> 
> This leads me to a question: Does the IETF need to be able to include discussion of licensing costs?  In other words, is it sufficient to distinguish between 'royalty free' and 'not royalty free'?
> 
> Russ
> 
> Russ -- I'd rephrase this last question, as I believe that most people said that mere disclosure of licensing costs did not bother them, but some felt uncomfortable with discussion of licensing costs.  Maybe it is most accurate to ask:
> 
> 1.  Should disclosure of licensing terms be allowed?
> 2.  Should disclosure of licensing terms be required?
> 3.  If you said yes to either 1 or 2, should discussion of those licensing costs be allowed?

Jorge:

The current IPR rules allow disclosure of terms.  Most organizations that do something other than the non-assert approach have chosen to commit to reasonable and non-discriminatory license.  That commitment does not actually tell us the cost.  This policy is not the place to require the disclosure of terms.  It a change is desired in that area, it ought to be discussed on the the IPR mail list.

So, if terms are disclosed, do we want to allow discussion of them?

Russ